Earlier last month, the White House hosted a Travel Blogger Summit on study abroad and global citizenship. The event involved 130 influential travel bloggers, media outlets, and senior policymakers. With the primary goal of increasing study abroad enrollment of U.S. students, speakers discussed current figures, trends, and ideas to encourage participation in programs abroad. During the summit, the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced the creation of a new U.S. Study Abroad Office. What does this all mean? In short, there has never been a better time for U.S. students to participate in a program abroad. The creation of this office, along with a nationwide initiative to increase study abroad enrollment (Generation Study Abroad), has meant an increase in scholarships, as well as more emphasis being placed on the importance of study abroad as a whole.
Aside from the many government-sponsored scholarships, there’s also a wide range of other privately-funded scholarships, crowdfunding sites, and fundraising resources available to students, both from the U.S. and around the world. So, as you’re choosing a program and adding some money to your “travel” fund, consider these tips to get you on the path to studying, interning, or volunteering abroad:
Tip 1: Start Crowdfunding
Similar to sites like Kickstarter, study abroad crowdfunding sites have been growing in popularity over time. Crowdfunding provides a great opportunity for your friends and relatives to help you fund your experience abroad. Depending on the site, users may set up a profile page, set a funding goal, and post updates along the way. New to crowdfunding? Not to worry. Sites like Project Travel or FundMyTravel are very user-friendly, and also provide resources on setting up your profile and sharing your campaign with others.
Tip 2: Search for Government-Sponsored Scholarships and Grants
As previously stated, there are many government-sponsored scholarships and grants available to U.S. students wishing to study abroad. The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, providing grants to U.S. undergraduate students, is a great example of such opportunities. Applying for federal financial aid is also recommended to those looking for additional funding.
Tip 3: Search for Privately-funded Scholarships
World Endeavors offers a variety of partial scholarships and discounts for our programs. There are also a number of organizations and associations that offer yearly scholarships to students. Rotary International provides some great scholarships for study abroad. There are also many destination or subject-specific scholarships out there. Our advice? Search often. There are new scholarships popping up all the time. All you have to do is look. You may even want to bookmark scholarship search engines, such as StudyAbroad.com and Fastweb.com, for quick and easy searching.
Tip 4: Keep an Eye Out for Contests and Sweepstakes
Many organizations run special scholarship contests or sweepstakes throughout the year. Some may ask you to show off your creative talents via a video or photo, while others will ask you to write an essay. Whatever it may be, it’s worth it! Some organizations even offer prizes in the form of full scholarships to the program of your choice.
The takeaway? There are many people rooting for you to make your dream a reality. Whether you’ve decided to volunteer in Costa Rica or study in England, there are many funding opportunities available. If you have questions about where to start, we suggest speaking with someone at your study abroad office or getting in touch with us. Our advisors are always happy to help!